Speech by DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, at a DAP Public Rally in Batu Pahat on Saturday, 16th March 1974 at 8 p.m.
1. Call on all private sector employers who have not paid COLA to their workers to do so without any more delay
There are still large numbers of employers in the private sector who have not yet paid COLA to their employees to help the workers to regain their purchasing power and restore their standard of living in the period of galloping inflation.
The spiraling prices have hit the poor and those drawing low and fixed salaries the hardest, and I call on all private employers who have not yet pay COLA to their employees to immediately do so, so that our workers and their dependants would not be placed in increasing hardship.
2. Call on the Government to make a second special relief allowance to government employees to enable them to cope with rising prices
Last October, the Prime Minister, Tun Razak, announced special relief allowance for government servants at the lower salary brackets up to a maximum of $30 a month.
Since October, prices of essential foodstuffs and consumer commodities have galloped and skyrocketed, and this government special relief allowance have been completely wiped out by the great leaps in prices. The government servants are therefore back to souare one, and their hardships and plight is a very serious one as they face a lowering of their standard of living.
The DAP calls on the Prime Minister to make a second award of special relief allowance to the low-salaried public servants to lessen their economic sufferings.
3. Upward revision of wages for 180,000 workers governed by Wages Council Regulations
During the recent Parliament meeting, I called on the government to revise upward the wages of some 180,000 unorganised workers who are governed by Wages Council Orders. These workers include shop-assistants, catering and hotel workers, cinema workers, Penang’s stevedoring and cargo-handling workers.
The Minister of Labour and Manpower, Tan Sri V. Manickavasagam, replied to me that he was ordering the Wages Council to meet to discuss the matter.
Up to now, no news of any upward revision for the 180,000 workers have been heard. I have today sent a cable to the Labour Minister, urging him not to delay any longer on this matter, and in view of the inflation in the country, to immediate revise the Wages Order rates upwards by 25% with retrospective effect.
4. Call for the abolition of Sales Tax
Among the many measures which the government can take to fight inflation is to abolish the Sales Tax introduced by the Finance Minister Tun Tan Siew Sin in 972. The Sales Tax which was originally intended to raise only $84 million added $106 million onto the costs of imports and $104 million on the costs of domestically manufactured goods in 1973. It is thus clear that the Sales Tax fuelled the fires of inflation to a very great degree, and the DAP demands for the abolition of the Sales Tax as one of the government efforts to fight inflation.